Product Review (April 2008) - Panamax
MAX 7500 PRO A/V Line Conditioner

By Kevin Nakano


Panamax has a reputation for providing high quality and affordable power conditioners for the A/V user. The Panamax MAX® 7500 PRO (MSRP $1999.95) is their latest flagship power conditioner specifically engineered to
improve the performance and life expectancy of home theater and audio components while protecting them from dangerous voltages. The MAX® 7500-PRO incorporates an advanced power filtration system that features a 720VA isolation toroidal transformer optimized to provide power for digital source components and displays. This transformer isolates noise generated by digital source components and prevents them from affecting sensitive audio or video components in the system. The MAX® 7500-PRO also features a ground isolation feature that mechanically interrupts ground loops should they occur.

Operation
Holding down the main Power button for two seconds activates the turn-on or turn-off sequence for all of the outlets. The Bank Status Indicators display which corresponding bank is on or off. When flashing, this indicates the bank is in transition to either off or on. The Ground Isolation switch controls the ground connection of banks 3 and 4. When enabled these power banks have Balanced Power with an isolated ground connection. Alternatively, when disabled these banks have Balance Power with a common ground reference. Depending on the system application some users will prefer one over the other. A Convenience Outlet on the front of the unit provides a quick and convenient way to plug in temporary components such as camcorders and video game systems.

Meters
Both of the front panel meters are analog. The left meter displays the incoming line voltage to the MAX 7500-PRO as well as Out of Regulation (regulated output voltage is out of specification) or Unsafe Voltage indicators (over or under voltage condition). The right meter displays either output voltage or input current (up to 15 amps) of the unit when the Master Select button is pressed. Turing the Master Select knob changes the brightness level on the panel meters. When fully counterclockwise,the auto brightness mode is enabled and the front panel display will dim with the detected ambient light level.

Back Panel
The MAX® 7500-PRO has a detachable power cord which is held in place with a locking clip that screws into the back of the unit. This prevents the power cord from being accidentally pulled out from the unit. A large ground lug is available for connecting a heavy ground wire. The back of the MAX® 7500-PRO has a total of ten AC outputs grouped into five banks. Each bank with the exception of Bank 1 has a switch that can select between Always On or Delay. This allows the power for each set of components to be controlled. A master power control switch lets the user control the power banks or use the Custom Settings stored in nonvolatile memory.

Power Banks 1 & 2 are Filtered Regulated Outlets featuring Balanced Double L filtered outlets for low current analog audio components such as preamplifiers, receivers, VCR's and tape decks. Power Banks 3 & 4 are Isolated (Switched) and Regulated Outlets that provide complete (transformer) isolation for digital source components such as DVD players or display devices like plasma TVs or DLP projectors. This set of outputs are limited (due to the isolation transformer) to a total of 6 amps. The outlets are completely isolated from the rest of the system to prevent digital noise from polluting the system power. Power Bank 5 has two High-current Outlets specifically designed for power amplifiers and powered subwoofers to provide noise filtration without limiting current. Each of these (Bank 5) outlets can be individually configured to either turn-on instantly or provide a delay to prevent "speaker thump".

The MAX® 7500-PRO has two pairs of F-connectors that feature Universal Cable and Satellite TV Coaxial interfaces optimized for Satellite TV, Cable TV, or standard Antenna signals. The DC Trigger Input (3.5mm jack) is designed to connect to a remote trigger device that uses a DC voltage signal (3-24VDC) to initiate a startup/shutdown sequence on the MAX® 7500-PRO. The DC Trigger Output (3.5mm jack) produces a 12VDC trigger to control another device. Remote diagnostics is made possible with the provided RS232 card and for advanced users an optional IP-ready Ethernet card is available. This gives the MAX® 7500-PRO multi-zone control wherever remote diagnostics are needed and allows users to configure each outlet bank individually to customize their home theater system. Protected phone and Ethernet interfaces are also available on the unit. A USB connector provides power to the included gooseneck lamp to see the connections in the dark.

Installation
The MAX® 7500-PRO is a heavy unit weighing around 36 pounds and measures 17" W x 12.75" D and 3.5" H (standard 2U rack mounting). If the unit is rack mounted, the included 1U blank panel needs to be installed below the unit to ensure proper ventilation. Rear support of the unit will be required due to the weight. Also included is a 10-foot heavy-duty 12-gauge detachable power cord, a USB convenience light, 1U blank panel, a pair of rack mount ears and an assortment of cables (pair of RG-6 patch cables and a telephone cable).

Bank 1 output are always on, so it is best to connect components such as DVRs that need continuous power. We connected our Dish ViP722 DVR since many of the software updates are done in the middle of the night. Bank 2 outputs are similar, but can be switched. Our OPPO DVD player and PlayStation3 (Blu-ray) players were connected to Bank 3 & 4. We chose to connect our Parasound HCA-2205AT 5-channel amplifier and M&K subwoofer to the high current (Bank 5) outputs.

Inside
The inside of the
MAX® 7500-PRO is busy and includes two toroidal transformers and several circuit boards designed to protect the connected hardware. Toroid transformers are more expensive, but offer very low magnetic strayfield emission levels, quiet operation, relatively small size, and high efficiency. All of the power lines use heavy 12 gauge wire to ensure high current carrying capability. Common mode chokes and filter capacitors can be seen on several of the boards. MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistors) are also placed between each of the power lines to prevent large transient voltages from damaging the connected components. The right side of the unit is occupied by a large 720VA toriodal isolation transformer with a smaller toroid in the center for powering the internal electronics. The board layouts are clean and organized with impressive build quality. Heavy-duty high current relays can be seen throughout the inside of the unit. The front panel analog meters are mounted on a separate circuit card.

True Isolation
As mentioned earlier, the MAX® 7500-PRO isolated power for
Power banks 3 & 4. These outputs use a large 720VA isolation transformer that is designed to provide clean power for digital source components or displays. This isolation transformer provides protection to other components connected to the MAX® 7500-PRO by isolating the primary and secondary power lines. This completely blocks DC from passing through the transformer and prevents EMI and RFI contamination. Users need to be aware that the output of the isolation transformer cannot exceed the 6 amp current rating. This is important when choosing which components to connect to these banks. The unit has a separate circuit breaker for the (Bank 3 & 4) outputs to prevent overloading the isolation transformer.

Voltage Regulation
Surge and EMI/RFI filtration is only part of the features offered on the MAX® 7500 PRO. Automatic Voltage Monitoring (AVM) and regulation keeps the output voltage at 120 VAC with the input varying between 100-135 VAC. The plot shows the output voltage of the MAX® 7500 PRO we tested as the input voltage changes. We observed a very stable voltage with the exception of the lowest input voltage range (below 100 volts). During our tests, the unit detected an under-voltage condition when the utility voltage dropped below 90 volts. An over-voltage condition occurred when the line input reached about 136 VAC. In both cases, the MAX® 7500 PRO shut the output off when encountering unsafe voltage levels to protect the connected components. This is much more advanced than the earlier power conditioners that did not offer any Voltage Regulation capabilities.

Performance
We have been using Panamax power conditioners for well over a decade and with each new model comes more advanced features. While power in Los Angeles is fairly stable, there have been times when power has fluctuated due to storms and utility transformer failures. We can safely say that none of our electronic components have ever failed when connected to a Panamax power conditioner. Furthermore, there is peace of mind when expensive components are connected to utility power when using Panamax.

Our system performed flawlessly while connected to the Panamax MAX® 7500-PRO and the unit flexibility allowed us to use other components we rely upon to control our system such as our RTI T4 remote controller. We set up our Parasound A/V Controller to trigger the MAX® 7500-PRO which then turned on other components. Both audio and video were clean and the level of hum we sometimes hear in our main speakers was minimal. Having the grounding options available on the Panamax MAX® 7500-PRO also helps reduce 60 Hz video noise often seen on the screen.

Conclusion
The Panamax MAX® 7500-PRO is an advanced power filtration system featuring a true 720VA isolation transformer for digital source components and displays. By design the isolation transformer prevents EMI or RFI contamination between the primary and secondary windings. This can be a big advantage over power conditioning product that lack this feature. The Voltage Regulation circuit proved to work well and keeps the power to the components at an optimal 120VAC even with varying input voltage. The ground isolation feature that mechanically interrupts potential ground loops is a nice bonus. This solution is also ideal for multi-zone audio/video whole-home automation and wherever remote diagnostics are needed. The MAX® 7500-PRO is the company's flagship power product that will meet the needs of high-end consumers as well as custom installation professionals.

- Kevin Nakano






OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Projector: Mitsubishi HC5000 Full 1080p High-Definition LCD Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD+ A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP622 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
Blu-ray DVD Player: Sony PlayStation3 with HDMI 1.3
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player with HDMI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T4 Controller
HDMI Video Switcher: Radiient Technologies Select-4 HDMI Video Switcher
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review at a Glance


Panamax MAX® 7500 PRO Home Theater Power Management

General
Dimensions17 in. W x 12.75 in. D x 3.5 in H, (4.1 in. Including feet)
Weight36 lbs.

AC Power
Line Voltage120V, 60Hz
Regulation Range100V-135V
Regulated Output120V ± 2V
Total Current Capacity15 A
Suppression Rating330V
Protection Modes L-N, N-G, L-G
Initial Clamping Level 200V
Energy Dissapation2670 Joules
Peak Impulse Current162,000 Amps
Catastrophic Surge CircuitYes
Thermal FusingYes
Over-voltage Shutoff 142 VAC ± 2VAC
Under-voltage Shutoff 90 VAC ± 2VAC

EMI/RFI Noise Filtration
Banks 1 - 4100 dB, 100 kHz - 2MHz
Bank 5, High Current Outlets60 dB, 100 kHz - 2MHz

USB Light
Voltage5VDC
Current100mA

DC Trigger Input
Jacks3.5mm mono mini-plug
Voltage and Polarity3-24V DC, bidirectional
Current Requirement4.6mA @3V, 58mA @24V

DC Trigger Output
Voltage<12V
Current<400 mA
Short-circuit protection Yes
Delay on Output10 seconds

LAN Circuit
Clamping Level 8V ± 2V
JacksRJ-45
Wires Protected 4-Wires, Pins 1, 2, 3 & 6

Telephone Circuit
Fuseless / Auto Resettable Yes
Clamping Level 260V
Capacitance 30pf (approx.)
Suppression Modes Metallic & Longitudinal
Connectors RJ-11
Lines Protected 2-Wire, Pins 4 & 5

Satellite TV Circuit
BidirectionalYes
ShieldedYes
Clamping Level 25V
Attenuation< 1dB from 950MHz-2.05GHz
< 2.4dB @ 2.2GHz
ConnectionsFemale "F", Gold Plated

Cable TV Circuit
BidirectionalYes
ShieldedYes
Clamping Level 1.4V
Attenuation< 1dB up to 950MHz
ConnectionsFemale "F", Gold Plated

Datasheet

User's Manual


Company Information
Panamax, Inc.
1690 Corporate Circle
Petaluma, CA 94952

Phone: 800-472-5555
Website: http://www.panamax.com/

Model: M7500-PRO
Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $1,999.95

Any comments or questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to webmaster@laaudiofile.com

Copyright © 1985-2008 L.A. Audio File.